MONTREAL - A fire has ravaged the home of a Montreal man with a colourful past as a self-described Israeli spy and purported international arms broker.
The police arson squad is investigating the fire that gutted the upscale Westmount home of Ari Ben-Menashe.
Police say a suspect was seen fleeing the scene just before the fire erupted.
Ben-Menashe has been tied over the years to different foreign governments including Israel, Zimbabwe and Iran.
He was charged in the United States in 1989 with trying to sell military transport planes to the government of Iran — but he was acquitted.
Ben-Menashe describes himself as a former Israeli intelligence agent and current lobbyist who works for various international clients. He has bristled at media descriptions of him as an arms dealer.
A newspaper report last year about his relationship with Arthur Porter prompted Porter to resign as chairman of Canada's spy watchdog.
Porter is now being sued by McGill University over his involvement in the construction of a new superhospital when he was executive director of the university's hospital network.
The project has been plagued by controversy and is at the heart of fraud charges against Pierre Duhaime, the former chief executive of SNC Lavalin.